There were three major talking points from Liverpool’s 2-1 win over West Ham at Upton Park. Referee Anthony Taylor was kept very busy all afternoon and didn’t have a great game in my opinion. Here’s why. The first controversy was when he awarded a penalty to Liverpool after James Tomkins was judged to have prevented the ball going past him, after Luis Suarez touched the ball to the side of the defender. Taylor got this call correct.
However, he called the following two major incidents incorrectly. West Ham equalized just before half time, but only after Simon Mignolet was fouled by Andy Carroll, leading to the ball being spilt. Guy Demel put the ball in the net, but the assistant raised his flag. Taylor ran over to him, waving furious Liverpool players away. Taylor had given the goal before spotting the flag, but overruled his assistant and gave the goal. This was a mistake by the referee and when he reviews it, he will be disappointed especially because Carroll fouled Mignolet twice, on the head and the arm.
Liverpool were awarded a second penalty when Adrian was penalized for a foul on Jon Flanagan. The young full back pushed the ball past the keeper but Adrian did get a hand on the ball. Flanagan went down and the penalty was given, much to the surprise of Sky Sports commentator Gary Neville and most of the fans in the ground.
Overall, it was a bad day at the office for Taylor, who is still relatively inexperienced at Premier League level, but I am sure that with time, he will improve and learn from his mistakes. After all, it’s a high pressure job especially with all the money involved in professional soccer nowadays.
Manchester City put pressure on their title rivals by securing three points against Southampton. City won the game 4-1 but the game was far from without incident. In the second minute, Jose Fonte brought down Edin Dzeko in the penalty area with a rather hopeful flailing leg, in a desperate attempt to take the ball. Fonte’s leg connected with Dzeko and the Bosnian had no hesitation in going down. Referee Chris Foy called the decision correctly and pointed straight to the spot.
Southampton were awarded a penalty themselves later in the first half after a superb run from Jack Cork led to him being brought down by Pablo Zabaleta. It was a poor piece of defending from the Argentinian, who is an experienced player, so I think he would have been disappointed when he reviews the incident.
Yaya Toure was booked for simulation, when trying to win a penalty and this was a great spot from Foy, who was in a perfect position to see Toure just fall to the ground. The Ivorian knew instantly that he had been caught and the yellow card was brandished.
The most controversial decision during the match was the decision to award City their second goal after a clear offside was not spotted by the referee’s assistant. Dzeko flicked the ball past the Southampton defense to David Silva, who was offside by a wide margin. I can only think that the linesman missed the touch from Dzeko and thought that the ball had come straight through from the previous pass. This could have been resolved if the referee had communicated with his assistant and told him that there was a touch. The assistant could have then raised his flag and resolved the incident.
Chelsea’s Mohamed Salah was clumsily brought down by Andy Wilkinson in the area, during the Blues’ 3-0 win against Stoke City. The penalty was an easy decision for referee Lee Probert to make. Frank Lampard converted the goal at the second attempt after Asmir Begovic‘s save came straight back to Lampard, who scored his 250th goal for Chelsea.
Fulham’s Lewis Holtby was very unfortunate not to be on the scoresheet on Saturday in their much-needed 2-1 victory over Aston Villa. Brad Guzan was beaten in the Villa goal but Matt Lowton was on the line to prevent the goal being scored. A decision that would have been nearly impossible to call without the goal-line technology system, which has been proven to be a superb investment once again. The virtual analysis showed that the ball did not cross the line, but was unbelievably close.